Etching Glass With a Rotary Tool

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Introduction: Etching Glass With a Rotary Tool

Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

Third Prize in the
Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest

Decided to make this tutorial about etching glass with a rotary tool. Had no idea how it would work out but I'm quite pleased with the result. Usually I work with wood so figured this would be a nice project for Beyond the Comfort Zone contest since I haven't had any experience in working with glass.

Step 1:

You will need a printer to print out your designs which you will later trace on the glass. My friend made these in Photoshop with a 10 degree curve so they would end up straight when transferred to glass. You can just print out anything and trace it but then your lines will look a bit crooked on the glass because of the curvature.

Other stuff you need is a pair of scissors, masking tape, rotary tool and diamond tip bits. I bought my bit set for 5$ on ebay.

Step 2:

Cut out your picture and place it in a glass. Secure it with masking tape so it doesn't move.

Step 3:

Securely grip the glass in your hand. Grab the rotary tool like a pen and start tracing the image. Sadly I couldn't take a picture of how I'm actually holding both the glass and the tool but it should be fairly simple to understand by looking at the pics.

Step 4:

Outlines traced and paper inside removed. You can opt to finish at this point.

Step 5:

Filling the insides of the trace. I found that having a dark background makes it much more easy to see what you're doing.

Hope you like the tutorial and have fun etching!

2 People Made This Project!

  • I made it/ See my vi...-Sekretmastera

    Sekretmastera made it!

  •  Made these today in...-M_42

    M_42 made it!

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43 Comments

Thank You, for a clear, concise instructable. Strangely enough just two days ago I was looking at a neat shaped drinking glass in a thrift store and thinking "wouldn't it be cool to put a design in that?" . Now I know how. Off to the store!

Thanks for a great idea

No problem, glad you like it!

Nice! Great tip on adding the curve to the artwork.

Cheers, turned out to be a nice solution for irregularly shaped glass.

I have been doing this for several years now, gave each member of my congregation where I attend an etched mug with a cartoon depicting what their job was. Had fun with an older gentle man who many many years ago fell asleep under a tree while plowing wth 2 mules. Put the man plowing on one side and the man sleeping on the opposite side. They were all a great hit. Did I mention that I got cases of glass mugs from the family Dollar tree.

It don't take a genius to do this, only one with a willingness to devote time to doing something for someone else.

What does 10 degree curve mean and how do you achieve that? Is there a setting somewhere in printer software?

Nice work?

As my friend explained it to me, there is some sort of a perspective tool in Photoshop that wraps the image into a cone. Sadly, no, there is not a setting in printer software where you could adjust that.

However, if you need Photoshop the CS2 version is legally obtainable for free from Adobe's site!